RhythmWave’s anti-oppression statement and guidelines
At RhythmWave, our mission is to bring Conscious Dance and movement education to ALL people, in ALL places.
For the purpose of this Policy, RhythmWave uses the following definitions:
- Discrimination is the treatment or consideration based on class or category rather than individual merit. It can be used to privilege (special treatment in favor of) as well as disadvantage (special treatment against) a particular group or individual.
- Oppression is the use of power or privilege by a socially, politically, economically, or culturally dominant group (or groups) to disempower (take away or reduce power), marginalize, silence or otherwise subordinate one social group or category.
- Systemic Oppression consists of practices, policies, laws and standards that disadvantage a particular group or category of people.
- Individual Oppression is demeaning and oppressive behavior towards and treatment of a particular group or category of people, expressed through individual attitudes, beliefs and values.
- Anti-Oppression is the work of actively challenging and removing oppression perpetuated by power inequalities in society, both systemic oppression and individual expressions of oppression.
Many individuals, including RhythmWave residents at Burning Man, face practical barriers and oppressive experiences because of individual and systemic unequal power related to race, ethnicity, ability, age, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, immigration status, and/or other marginalizing characteristics. Since RhythmWave is a reflection of the society in which we live, these power differentials will inevitably exist at and within RhythmWave, as well.
Discrimination and oppression can prevent people from engaging with RhythmWave in a way that fully reflects their ability, experience, and contributions. We recognize that understanding, acknowledging, and working to eliminate oppression is a learning process for us all. Different people can be at different stages in the learning process, and we all need to create opportunities for learning and assist each other in that process.
Therefore, at RhythmWave, we recognize that individuals and groups who experience discrimination or oppression have the capacity to make choices and act on their own behalf to bring about change to dismantle systems of oppression for themselves and others.
In that regard, RhythmWave is committed to principles of anti-oppression and anti-discrimination in all areas of our internal and external work. This commitment is grounded in our belief that personal and systemic change IS possible, and that our work and that of the dance/Burner/global community, as a whole, will grow stronger as oppression and discrimination are eradicated.
RhythmWave will therefore ensure (1) that its work accurately reflects and utilizes the variety of knowledge of ALL peoples, as the basis for all of our activities; (2) that it recognizes the leadership of disenfranchised and oppressed individuals and groups to bring about anti-oppressive change; and (3) that it acknowledges the existence of oppression and discrimination, and makes a conscious effort to challenge them at their core.
To that end, RhythmWave will work to ensure that:
- The membership (residency) of RhythmWave accurately reflects the vibrancy of the dance community and our society as a whole;
- RhythmWave’s offerings are developed in an accessible way, so that attendees can utilize them in a manner free from obstacles, barriers, and discrimination or oppression;
- RhythmWave’s networking, information sharing, and strategy are informed by the goal of identifying and countering the impact of the various and combined forms of discrimination or oppression;
- RhythmWave’s communications with the media and the public address the diverse and combined forms of oppression and offer practical solutions to eliminate it;
- We strengthen our capacity to develop individual leadership and advocacy potential; our capacity is strengthened to challenge unequal power and biases that lead to oppression;
- RhythmWave has a process for resolving concerns and complaints that may arise from unfair, inequitable or oppressive treatment within/at RhythmWave;
- A process is in place to develop policies and practices that promote anti-oppression, and to implement, periodically review, and improve such policies and practices where/when necessary.